Christmas….wait, it is in…December?
Of course it is! But why do we, every year, wait until last minute to realize that we need to purchase stuff for Christmas, purchase too much and run up a huge bill that we spent months or years paying off?
Check out some useful tips and ideas to make Christmas less stressful and more fun:
1.       Start saving in January…or at least months ahead of time. For example, divide the amount you want to spend (or are able in your budget to spend) on Christmas and save it each month in an account. When Christmas comes around, it is a lot easier!
2.       A friend of mine has 7 children! What she does for Christmas really stuck with me – each child gets: 1 thing they need, 1 thing they want, 1 thing to read and one thing to give (to someone else). A great opportunity to teach kids about giving and keep the budget to a minimum if you have one kid, 7 or more!
3.       Make it a scavenger hunt: put together a wish list and see what you can find, as a family, at yard sales, thrift stores, craigs list and Lejeune yard sales! Make it a game and guess how much you are going to get an item for OR the total you will spend on all gifts!
4.       Have not saved much!? Minimize it. Get a family gift, go out for the day as the Christmas gift, make something smaller MORE EXCITING to the kids. Remember, KIDS DO NOT NEED A LOT! Start saving for next year.
These are all GREAT ideas, but how do I get started, Christmas seems so far away! Go into your budget (and if you do not have one, start their first!) and make way for $50-100 (based on the wants of your family) and put it aside. Decide on a Christmas plan for this year, pin it on your calendar and stick to it, no matter what (and how good the shiny stuff looks!)
I hope one of these ideas works for your family and will work for this Christmas…and for the next! Happy saving!

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